Cannabis and Type 1 Diabetes Complications
Notes: Researchers surveyed 450 patients with type 1 diabetes in Colorado, where cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use. Overall, 30 percent of the participants used cannabis.
Compared to nonusers, cannabis users had about twice the risk of experiencing a serious complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis, which develops when blood sugar is elevated for too long and the body produces high levels of acids known as ketones. Left untreated, ketoacidosis can lead to severe dehydration, swelling in the brain, coma and death.
Some previous research suggests that for people with type 2 diabetes – the more common form linked to obesity – cannabis may make it easier to use the hormone insulin to convert foods into energy and maintain lower blood sugar levels, researchers note in JAMA Internal Medicine. But less is known about the impact of cannabis on people with type 1 diabetes, the less common form that typically develops in childhood and is caused by a breakdown in the body’s immune system.